This morning was a quiet morning. Which isn’t normally how it goes, is it?
Usually we’re all rushing around making breakfast, getting dressed, and bribing the children to eat. We’re drinking cold coffee in a feeble attempt to not feel like we only got the little sleep that we did the night before. One child on one hip, another one cries because they don’t like the shirt they picked out the night before.
But this morning, this rare morning, all was peaceful. There was hot coffee, minimal tears, and laughter. My husband was on time getting out the door to preschool; I kissed my oldest goodbye while the baby played on the back porch.
With the windows open, music playing softly and the baby cooing away, I sighed.
Lately, I’ve been feel guilty. And it’s something that I want to get off of my chest, because I think other people have moments like this, too. Or at least I don’t want to feel so alone with these feelings.
I like one child more than I like the other.
The weight of these feelings can be overbearing at times, and makes me question what type of mother I am for feeling this way. Do you ever feel like this? Do you find yourself wanting to spend more time with one child over the other?
I know deep down this isn’t the case; I love both my children immensely. I also know that’s the case for you, too. As mothers our love multiples, expands, intensifies as we expand our family.
But it still makes me feel bad.
It makes me sad sometimes, anxious other times. Guilty.
Here’s the thing. I know it has nothing to do with liking one more than the other.
One child doesn’t scream ‘no’ at me all day, one doesn’t want to constantly play pretend games while bossing me around, one doesn’t need as much attention and I can actually sit, and be, with one. Like right now, I’m able to write this blog and my feelings; there’s no way this would be happening if my other child was here.
The saying “the bigger the child, the bigger the feelings” is so incredibly true. In some instances, having your child grow up from a baby, to a toddler, to an actual kid is easier; there’s no diaper changes, there’s no breastfeeding, there’s less sleepless nights.
I’ve come to realize, however, that raising a kid is a lot harder than a baby. While changing diapers, breastfeeding, and making sure a baby stays safe is a challenge — well, raising a well-rounded child is harder. This phase of life is much more taxing. It’s hard to be authoritative yet loving. Nurturing yet foster independence. Involved but not hovering. It’s hard to raise a freethinker. Someone who is strong yet kind. Someone who knows the difference between right and wrong, and someone who you teach to always tell the truth, while struggling to explain situations truthfully and age appropriately. Someone who you would actually want to spend time with when you’re older.
I guess I just want to tell those of you with multiple kids who have thought the things I have — that they, too, like one kid more than the other — that that’s not the case. We have enough things to worry about with our kids, enough guilt over so many different things; don’t let this be one of them.
It’s not a matter of liking one child more than another, it’s liking one phase of childhood more than the other.